UCLA vs Marquette Odds
Monday, Nov. 20
11:30 p.m. ET
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
Aloha from Maui! To conclude a terrific Monday slate, we have an intriguing powerhouse matchup between the UCLA Bruins and Marquette Golden Eagles.
Not only is this a powerhouse matchup on the court, but this is a terrific coaching duel. Mick Cronin is going through a ton of roster turnover from last season, whereas Shaka Smart has one of the most experienced teams in the country.
This is one of the best sports weeks of the entire calendar year, and these two teams shouldn’t disappoint. Below, we have UCLA vs. Marquette odds and a prediction, including an NCAAB betting guide for Monday, Nov. 20.
I haven’t watched much of the Bruins thus far this season, so I’m excited to see how they fair against one of the best teams in the country. There’s no hiding the fact that this is not the typical loaded Bruins rosters of the past.
With four of their five key starters gone from last season, the Bruins are 337th in minutes continuity this season. They’re counting on a lot of new faces to fill a lot of production.
The one returning piece from last season who’s extremely important to this frontcourt is big man Adem Bona. Bona suffered a shoulder injury during last year’s Pac-12 Tournament and he didn’t participate in the NCAA tournament.
Alongside Bona in the frontcourt is 7-foot-3 freshman Aday Mara, who provides a physical presence inside. Marquette is going to have a tough time attacking inside, despite its own talent and experience.
What has stuck out to me while digging into the Bruins’ statistics thus far this season is that they’ve been struggling to find their groove from beyond the arc. 24% from 3 does suggest some positive shooting regression should be imminent, but we still don’t know what type of identity the Bruins have.
Besides the 3-point shooting, the Bruins have been excellent inside the arc. They’re shooting 56% on non-3-point attempts.
The Marquette defense has been pretty solid defending 2-point shots, but this will be the first legitimate test the Golden Eagles have faced all season. Due to their height advantage, I would expect the Bruins to find some offensive success on the inside.
I’m intrigued to see freshman guard Sebastian Mack on the offensive end, only because he’s attempted just four 3-pointers on the season. I would expect him to start firing more of them moving forward, as this is a lethal part of his game.
Defensively, the Bruins have the chops to contain this explosive Marquette offense, especially on the inside, as I mentioned above. It’s no surprise that a Cronin-led squad prides itself on defense, but this will be the biggest test the Bruins face until conference play begins.
It’ll be really telling early on in this game if the Bruins can hang in this one, but I definitely expect some positive offensive regression.
Being straight forward, Marquette has the chops to win it all. Smart has a reputation for not being capable of winning the big game, but if he’s going to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament, this is the roster to do it with.
Tyler Kolek, Oso Ighodaro and Kam Jones form one of the most lethal trios in the entire country, and there’s no shortage of offense with this group.
So far this season, the Golden Eagles are top-20 in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency. Of course, this is based upon very limited data. But considering how excellent this group was last year, I think the Golden Eagles be able to repeat that success.
Crashing the boards is something that needs some work, as this group is amongst the bottom 50 in the country in offensive rebounding to start the year. I don’t see many opportunities for extra possessions in this particular matchup.
The free-throw shooting hasn’t been great to start the year, as Marquette is 62% from the charity stripe. I would assume this will improve as the year goes on, though.
Defensively, I have some concerns about how the Golden Eagles will contain the Bruins’ interior scoring. This wasn’t the best defensive team last season, but it remains to be seen if the returning experience will help them on that end of the floor.
I also worry about their ability to block shots, so I think the Bruins will get a lot of clean looks in this game. This could be trouble, but I think the Golden Eagles have enough offensive talent to overcome some inefficiencies on the defensive end of the floor.
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UCLA vs. Marquette
Betting Pick & Prediction
KenPom makes this spread Marquette -5, which is about right given the circumstances of both of these teams. The market also agrees, as I see a lot of -5.5 and -5s out there.
However, I’m going to take an unpopular approach and take an over in this game. It’s a bit scary given how slow the Bruins go on offense, but I have a few things working in my favor that leads me to this conclusion.
First off, the Bruins are due for some positive 3-point shooting regression. I specifically expect Mack to be more aggressive in this department moving forward.
There’s also too much offensive talent for Marquette, even if it struggles to score inside. The Golden Eagles are also due for some positive free-throwing shooting regression, which will be key in what’s expected to be a closely-contested contest.
I feel much more comfortable with the over than backing either side, so let’s hope both of these teams come ready to play.
Pick: Over 138.5 (Play to 139)
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